New Jersey & Pennsylvania officially lock in their moves to state-based ACA exchanges in 2021!

After some last-minute drama in one state and a surprising lack of drama in another, both New Jersey and Pennsylvania have officially passed bills allowing them to each establish their own ACA exchanges and enrollment platforms, splitting off from the federal exchange and HealthCare.Gov:

New Jersey:

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill establishing a state-based health care marketplace.

Murphy signed the legislation on Friday in a private ceremony.

Under current law, New Jersey uses a federal exchange, or marketplace, letting people shop for and enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The new law establishes the state's own exchange. Murphy, a Democrat, said the law also gives the state more control over open enrollment as well as giving the state access to data that it can use to regulate the market. He says it was necessary to protect against Trump administration ``sabotage'' of the law also known as Obamacare.

Lawmakers estimate participation in Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act increased by 36 percent or nearly 500,000 people over nearly four years.


Pennsylvania is poised to roll out its own online health insurance exchange to take the place of the one run by the federal government for the state's residents since 2014, saying it can save money for hundreds of thousands of policy-buyers.

The Republican-controlled Legislature gave final approval Friday to legislation authorizing the move, after Gov. Tom Wolf had pressed for the bill's passage this month in the hope that its savings measures can take partial effect in 2020 and full effect in 2021.

Wolf plans to sign the bill Tuesday, his office said.

Update: It's done.

...But Wolf's administration says the state can operate the exchange for less money than the federal government. Currently, the federal government takes 3.5% of the premium paid on plans sold through the exchange, or an estimated $94 million this year.

The state can operate the exchange for $30 million to $35 million and use the savings to qualify for extra federal reinsurance funds to reimburse insurers for certain high-cost claims, Wolf's administration says.

The state's share would be about 20% to one-quarter of the reinsurance program cost, according to Wolf administration estimates.

...Wolf's administration said it believes consumers would see premiums that are 5% to 10% lower than what they would otherwise pay.

...The Wolf administration said four other states are in the process of moving to their own exchange.

The other four states are New Jersey (of course), New Mexico, Nevada (which is set to launch their new exchange this November) and Oregon. The last I had heard, Oregon was still just considering re-establishing their own tech platform, but Wolf sounds pretty confident that it's a go there as well. Oregon actually already has their own exchange entity, they (and Nevada) have just been "piggybacking" on HealthCare.Gov since 2014.